A Note On The Conference…

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FM Session in Progress

When planning and implementing a conference, it makes everything worthwhile when your company receives a nice note from a participant.  But the best part is when they sum up the reasons why ReproMAX chooses to host these conferences. Bo Noles, President/CEO of Capital Imaging, and a member of the ReproMAX Board of Directors, sent this email to our Executive Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 28. ReproMAX decided to repost it on our blog with additional photos. Here are some highlights:

  • The industry has changed. And change is coming faster and faster.  We need an organization like ReproMAX and the conferences they implement because there is strength in numbers.
  • Competition is fierce, especially from large corporations and franchises. We need to share knowledge, successes–and failures, through an organization like ReproMAX.
  • Getting together with like-minded professionals at conferences makes us better at our business.
  • Online industry access is good. But one-to-one interaction is better.
  • The return-on-investment is the people you meet and share a common bond with through the industry.

Listed below is Bo’s email in it’s entirety. Enjoy!

As I sat through yet another well organized, educational, and motivating ReproMAX conference I am amazed that Rick Bosworth and his team continue to improve upon the previous conference. As I serve on the ReproMAX Board of Directors I am deeply impressed with how seriously these other board members take their responsibilities. I also think about how our industry has changed over the years to where we are today.

The changes are coming faster than we can keep up as a lone company. Which is why being a member of ReproMAX is so important to our survival. In just a couple of decades we have gone from blue printers and the smell of ammonia to the hum of digital black line plotters, to construction project management websites, content management and FM’s, to wide format color production facilities.

Thursday Night Event

Thursday Night Event

During the advent of digital technology of the 1990’s many repro business sold out to those who embraced the technology. ARC went around the country scooping up companies that were operating alone with no hope of surviving the new technology alone. There was the recession of 2008. Many of us survived while other shops did not. And now we’re discussing the way we price color CAD and producing color only drawings to the AEC with high speed wide format color printing devices.

ReproMAX as an organization has lead the way, they’ve been the tip of the spear through all the changes we’ve endured as an industry. Now we have competition within our space that we once dominated. Large corporations and franchises have infiltrated with their shiny new brands and professional marketing going head to head with us on our once loyal customers and clients. More than ever we need ReproMAX because there is strength in numbers. In our case the numbers consist of some of the best minds in the business. If we continue to work together sharing our successes and what has worked and what has not, if we put our collective strengths on the same path and continue moving forward the corporate giants and franchises will be no match.

In our busy crazy world we often forget or downplay the importance of being in a live face-to-face setting with others from our industry. Being active in ReproMAX can bring with it many benefits.  There is power in being connected to other people who are active in our line of work, but it can also be easy to talk yourself out of committing to the ReproMAX conference.  Many people think that joining ReproMAX is enough, but to capitalize on the return on your investment you need to be engaged and participate in the meetings.

We are all busy, so the thought of taking a few days away from the office to participate in a conference, can seem like a waste of time.  However, these live meetings might be just what you need to uncover new ways to grow your business and compete in our ever changing industry. Many think that being around competitors can be a waste of time.  But not everyone in our business is actually a competitor, as many can be allies and friends.  The ReproMAX partnership is comprised of world class leaders within the digital printing and content management industry. The extraordinarily unselfish acts of ReproMAX partners sharing their successes, their processes, their secrets, and ultimately, pulling back the curtains of their organization is extremely valuable. There is no better education or learning experience.

Kate Cronin with Bo Noles at Opening Reception

Kate Cronin with Bo Noles at Opening Reception

A few reasons to attend ReproMAX conferences:

  1. Learning opportunities.  No matter your level of expertise at your business, everyone can learn.  Working in a vacuum can often be isolating, and without exposure to a variety of points of view, we can miss new ideas and trends that can impact future results.  The educational aspect of a ReproMAX conference can expose you to new ways of conducting your business and help you to be more productive and profitable.
  2. Networking with peers.  ReproMAX conferences provide a great opportunity to network with some of the best minds in our industry.  Often ReproMAX partners from other regions of the country or world can become valuable resources for best practices. Avoiding conferences and the networking they offer can actually limit your own success.  Collaboration is the best way to approach networking.  I have found at ReproMAX conferences that everyone can help each other uncover ideas and spark inspiration when they get to know each other on a personal level
  3. Getting to know vendors and suppliers.  One of the great advantages of attending a ReproMAX conference is the encounter to our world class vendors.  Discovering innovative products and services for your business is necessary to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced world.  Plus, the vendors within our industry fully grasp and are a great source of what is happening in the future of our industry.  Invest time with the sponsors at the event and turn them into your friends and allies.
  4. Position yourself as an expert.  When you are active in your industry, you can develop a reputation as an expert to your clients.  Those who are engaged over the long term are often asked to speak at the conference.  Many people like to associate with the experts in any industry.  Clients feel good about doing business with those that are celebrated by their peers.
  5. Have fun.  Attending ReproMAX conferences is rewarding and fun.  All work and no play can get old fast. Rick Bosworth and his team are very good at adding a layer of enjoyment and entertainment to your company’s success by mixing a social aspect into your learning and industry branding efforts.  Many conferences have fun activities such as social parties, tours of the local partner’s shops where the event is hosted.  Taking an extra day at the beginning or end of the trip to explore or visit friends in the region is also a great way to maximize the investment in travel.  Never underestimate the power of a little fun mixed with some interesting people!
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Kitty Powell and Deborah Monson of Reprographic Consultants

Because you can now access industry information via the Internet don’t believe that the days of the live meeting are gone.  Truth is, conferences are more important than ever.  The value comes from the human-to-human connections that occur.  Often the unexpected “hallway conversations” people have with other attendees is the most valuable parts of attending a conference.  While these are not on the agenda, or mentioned in the breakout sessions learning objectives, when two or more people begin to discuss topics on a deeper and personal level, the success of the event to those involved becomes irreplaceable. 

It is the people that bring the ROI to your time at a ReproMAX conference. To paraphrase Gary Wilbur, President of R.S. Knapp/Napco, “ReproMAX will do for you what you can’t do for yourself.”

 

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